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Shooting Down Another GOP Talking Point On Benghazi

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Abu Khattal

Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. That's the war cry from the Republicans. It's the tragedy that became a scandal that became a fund raising cause célèbre. Now that the ringleader has been caught, the Republicans don't know what to do. They'd already held seven hearing trying to place the blame on Obama. All seven failed.  Then recently, to huge fanfare, Speaker John Boehner named a special House select committee to try to pin blame on the president. Then the inevitable happened. Obama rained on their parade. He authorized the capture of Benghazi mastermind, Ahmed abu Khatallah.

So first the Republican alarmist tried to diffuse and obfuscate the capture by questioning the timing. It had to do with Hillary Clinton's going on CNN and Fox News to talk about her book sales. Really? Like Obama would really time the capture to coincide with a book signing tour for Hillary Clinton? C'mon Republicans, you can do better than that.

And they tried. They then claimed that Al Qaeda ringleader Ahmed abu Khatallah wasn't really hiding. He could have been captured earlier. This guy was so visible he was even giving interviews to news journalist over the past two years. The administration was dragging its feet because they knew he'd blow the lid on how Al Qaeda was planning the Benghazi attack for weeks and it had nothing to do with an anti-Muslim video as the US had initially claimed immediately after the attack.

So why hadn't the administration captured or killed abu Khatallah?  What were they waiting for? Were they afraid he would prove Obama lied and was involved in a cover-up?

According to The Daily Beast:

Unlike the October 5, 2013 capture Abu Anas al-Libi, an accused planner of the 1998 al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the authority to capture abu Khatallah did not derive from the congressional authorization to go to war against al Qaeda.

While House and Senate investigators have said their probes have turned up evidence that the Benghazi attacks were coordinated and planned by people working with al Qaeda affiliates, the U.S. intelligence community has not determined that abu Khatallah was himself connected to al Qaeda. Without such a connection, the U.S. president was not authorized to kill or capture him under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against al Qaeda.

So, we followed the law. And while we were gathering information, collecting evidence against the Benghazi ringleader, we had him on our radar and were shadowing him, getting Intel on him and his cohorts. Evidence that would be crucial during the trial and also lead to other arrests/captures as Obama promised the night of the attacks.

As for the reason abu Khatallah has given for the Benghazi attack he's accused of masterminding that killed the four Americans? According to the New York Times:

But Mr. Abu Khattala told other Libyans in private conversations during the night of the attack that he was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video.

This all leads back to square one. Obama told the truth as he knew it. Hillary Clinton told the truth as she knew it. And Susan Rice delivered the truth as it was known at the time on the Sunday Talkers.

Where's all this leave the House special committee? In the toilet, where they belonged in the first place.

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DoJ repeatedly warned Darrell Issa that he could "seriously jeopardize any criminal prosecution of the terrorists"

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benghazi benghazi benghazi

Here is the Republican default talking point in one easy visual:

tv benghazi

No matter what else is going on in the world, in our own country, schools, hospitals, disaster areas, civil rights arenas, you can always count on the GOP to shout "BENGHAZI!!!!" from their multi-million dollar vacation home rooftops.

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, has made a career out of witch hunting. He looks for scandals where there are none in the hope that one day... one dreamy, gauze-filtered, sunlit blue-skied day... he'll find something to pin on President Obama and fulfill all his impeachment wishes.

But oops, awhile back, Darrell Issa’s Benghazi document dump damaged U.S. efforts, putting Libyans working with U.S. in danger. While hyperventilating investigating the attacks on the consulate, he disclosed the identities of Libyans who were helping United States officials.

But that didn't stop Darrell the Witch Hunter, nosireeBob! The Los Angeles Times is reporting that he's determined to keep pushing his luck b.s. hysteria, lies, and redundantly false accusations come hell or hot water. And no, that was no typo, he may be in more hot water.

Two of the Justice Department's key witnesses were subpoenaed to appear on Capitol Hill for hours of grilling about "BENGHAZI!!!!" They gave separate legal depositions about any security lapses and how the Obama administration responded.

Now comes the part about how Witch Hunter Darrell might have, once again, blown it big time:

Weeks before the interviews, top Justice Department officials repeatedly warned Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) against doing so, saying it would seriously jeopardize any criminal prosecution of the terrorists. They wrote three times to the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, strongly urging him not to insist on interviewing the agents.

The interviews have not been released. But the Justice Department expressed concern that Issa might reveal some details from the interviews, or that defense lawyers could subpoena them if suspects are apprehended, according to the sources, who did not have permission to speak publicly, citing the ongoing investigation. At least one person has been named in a sealed indictment in the Benghazi attacks.

The interviews "would prematurely alert individuals who may be charged about details of the government's case against them," and would give defense lawyers a golden opportunity to review the depositions and impeach the agents if they testified as prosecution witnesses, the Justice Department warned in one of the letters, according to sources.

Oh that wacky, zany Issa. He's such a super-patriot.

More at the link.

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Call the Waahmbulance! WaPo's Chris Cillizza hurt GOP Sen. Ron Johnson's wittle feewings

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whining wahmbulance

Call the waaahmbulance, stat! GOP Sen. Ron Johnson is throwing a tantrum because the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza awarded him a "Worst Week In Washington" award for accusing Hillary Clinton of fake-crying during her testimony about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, per TPM:

Now Johnson is doing a little "crying" himself because Cillizza called him out:

“The Washington Post – the poster child of Washington status quo - said I had the 'Worst Week in Washington... Benghazi was a failure of leadership by Secretary Clinton: before, during and after the terrorist attack. I dared to actually demand that Secretary Clinton explain why she refused to debrief her own staff and then provide truthful information to the American people... In Washington, demanding the truth is apparently a sin... "

Johnson should know all about sin. He just committed another one.

More at TPM.

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VIDEO: Once again, Lindsey Graham whines about Amb. Susan Rice’ Benghazi intel talking points defense

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(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Little Lindsey Graham is in Rejection Mode again. He's rejecting Susan Rice's and the Obama administration's intel-written explanations of the Benghazi attacks... again, although he did entertain the idea of Rice's potential nomination as Secretary of State.

How big of Little.

But that didn't stop him from tantruming and pointing fingers. Hell, he's got bigger fish to fry! Back down now? Not when his BFF John McCain is out there on every talk show every Sunday sounding his familiar loony refrains, including his latest: John McCain: President Obama Is The Real Problem, Not Susan Rice,

Little Lindsey on This Week:

STEPHANOPOULOS: All the evidence is that Ambassador Rice was using the information given to her by the intelligence community.

GRAHAM:

"I don't -- I don't believe that... We'll get to the bottom of this."

"I blame the president above all others."

When she [Rice] comes over, if she does, there will be a lot of questions asked of her about this event and others. But I do not believe the video is the cause ..."

"I don't believe the video is the reason for this. I don't believe it was ever the reason for this. That was a political story, not an intel story, and we're going to hold people accountable..."

So there! Even though the intelligence community didn't release classified information and did release the Rice talking points, Lindsey is insisting it was all some kind of vast left wing conspiracy to get President Obama re-elected. Why, that's ... that's... gotta be impeachable!

As you can see from the video, he went on and on, including his insistence on pushing for an investigation into Benghazi “like we got to the bottom of Iran-Contra. We’re not going to let up on this.”

No, weekly cranky white Republican Sunday spokesbabblers, President Obama isn't the real problem. The anti-Obama, anti-Rice GOP conspiracy nutballs are.

Link

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VIDEO: Oops! Condoleezza Rice on Benghazi: "Not always easy to know what is really going on on the ground... let relevant bodies do their work."

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Via Think Progress.

Former GW Bush Secretary of State Condi ruined all the Republicans' (and Fox's Greta  Van Susteren's) fun, stomping all over their conspiratorial talking points and using-- What's it called again? Oh yeah-- reason and calm:

"But when things are unfolding very, very quickly, it’s not always easy to know what is really going on on the ground. And to my mind, the really important questions here are about how information was collected. Did the various agencies really coordinate and share intelligence in the way that we had hoped, with the reforms that were made after 9/11?"

"So there’s a big picture to be examined here. But we don’t have all of the pieces, and I think it’s easy to try and jump to conclusions about what might have happened here. It’s probably better to let the relevant bodies do their work."

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VIDEO: Rudy Giuliani refuses to answer question in heated exchange with Soledad O'Brien over Benghazi

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"WMD? Nope, no weapons over there ... maybe under here?"

Rudy Giuliani went on for what seemed like more than a week about it taking more than a week for the Obama administration to call the Libya attack "spontaneous". Of course, as Soledad O'Brien pointed out, information changed as time went on and was shared as it came in, plus CBS reported that the evidence undermined right-wing charges of an administration “cover-up”.

Matthew Dowd, a former Bush administration official, reminded everyone that during the Iraq War, it took the Bush administration years to make its case and still got it wrong. Where was Rudy then?

CNN-- "This wasn't two weeks. This was months and months and months of a conversation where we never got the right answer to this," Dowd said on ABC's "This Week."

O'Brien:

"It took years...By jumping on so quickly and expecting accurate final answers within weeks is I guess unfair in a way."

Giuliani:

"We're going to blame this on Bush, too?"

Um, Rudy? That's not at all what she (or Dowd) was saying. Answer the damn question.

O'Brien:

"You got to stop putting words in my mouth, sir. Seriously, hang on. Let me finish. Every time I ask you a question, you like to push back as if somehow the question that's being posed to you is unfair. It's not. I'm a journalist. You said some things. I'm trying to get some accurate responses from you. You are welcome to answer. Go ahead."

Meanwhile, Romney’s version of meeting Navy SEAL killed in Benghazi was disputed by best friend, mother: “Pathetic & comical”, not to mention Christopher Stevens’ dad said that the Libyan ambassador’s death should not be politicized.

Yet there Rudy is, totally ignoring O'Brien's point while politicizing what's left of his brains out.

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Darrell Issa on State Department concerns about his damaging Libya doc dump: "That is crap."

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Jay Mallin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If you’re not up on Darell Issa's latest mishap, here’s my post: Issa’s Benghazi document dump damages U.S. efforts, put Libyans working with U.S. in danger. While hyperventilating investigating the attacks on the consulate, he disclosed the identities of Libyans who were helping United States officials, and he has yet to take responsibility for that.

Yesterday top Democrats ripped him for his little goof. In addition to the Dems mentioned in my post, other critics included Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Carl Levin, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, according to Josh Rogin in his latest reporting.

But Issa doesn't care. Rogin reports:

"Congress doesn't recognize and will not recognize ‘for official use only,' ‘sensitive.' Those are not classified. We would note it, but we would continue," Issa said, according to the released transcript. "Anything below Secret is in fact just a name on a piece of paper. And I think it is important to understand that. So if you have seen papers that say ‘for official use only,' ‘State Department sensitive,' that is crap."

What a class act.

Josh has more here.

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